The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

“This quiet but intricate novella, shored up by rich prose, takes readers through the eerie, fantastical terrain of the afterlife. A man named Vasethe comes to the guardian of the boundary between the world of the living and Mkalis, the spirit world. His request is an old and familiar one: for her to be his guide as he ventures into the spirit world of Mkalis to find the soul of his departed lover. As the story slowly unfurls, however, branching like the bloody, beautiful, and disorienting 999 realms of Mkalis, Vasethe’s secrets slowly come to light, revealing that his goal is not quite what he made it out to be—and also that his quest threatens the stability of the boundary the border keeper has protected for her hundred lifetimes…The tangle of love, loss, grief, and regret that is gradually exposed as the book’s emotional core feels tender and profound. Readers more interested in the journey than the destination will savor this venture into the underworld.” — Publishers Weekly